The intuitive visioning section of Beyond Leadership particularly resonated with me due to a number of contributing factors. The sense of pessimism associated with the economic collapse combined with the overwhelming amount of information we’re inundated with on the existing and pending environmental issues leads naturally to questions of self-preservation. As Bennis states the question, “what can I get?”
While Presidio represents a significant turning point, the return to graduate school can add to the general sense of anxiety. Most people, myself included, can feel periodically overwhelmed by change – even when the change is positive. And this time in my life feels like nothing but constant change. There’s the incremental and temporary change of how I spend my days, as well as the significant, looming question of how I’ll spend my days after graduation. Again, the question that immediately comes to mind is “what can I get?” How am I going to survive this period of profound change?
Yet, we know that isn’t the most useful, productive question. I wasn’t asking that question when I searched for, and enrolled in, the Presidio. Asking that level of question would betray the whole point of beginning this journey. Worse still, by giving in to that instinct I’d be selling myself short and limiting future possibilities. By giving in to fear, I’d be ensuring mediocrity.
Bennis’ book is an important reminder to continue asking the right question regardless of the external and internal conditions that are generating fear, doubt and confusion. The question I was asking when I began this journey was, as stated in Beyond Leadership, “what do I really want?” It may be difficult to keep that in mind during these times of trouble, but nothing is more important…
Matthew Madden is currently enrolled in the Presidio School of Management MBA program. He has spent he last 15 years in the technology and telecom fields helping corporations identify new market opportunities and developing products to meet those needs. He thinksthe most exciting innovations are now happening in the various fields of sustainability.